SC Legislative Update
By Ben Homeyer
The House and Senate are continuing to plow thru hearings trying to get bills out ahead of the April 10th crossover deadline. This week I had several discussions with the DMV about CDL exams and the potential to have tests in Spanish. Conflicting information is being reported by the agency as the head of license services said no but two branch managers said they conduct them in Spanish. I am waiting on further clarification but apparently this goes back over a decade to Governor Mark Sanford who stopped all exams in Spanish. We are also watching a local piece of legislation in Greenville in which they are discussing a moratorium on all building. The city council ultimately tabled the language for now but if passed it could hall all building in Greenville for six months. The House is taking the week of March 29th off and will return April 6th. Also this week the SCDOT gave it’s state of the agency to the Senate Finance Committee. Everything from a multi-model port plan to a complete streets program was discussed. A full copy of the presentation can be found here.
Bills and Legislation
H4100 State Budget
The SC House passed its version of the State Budget this week. After several days and nights of deliberation they sent the Senate their version of the $10billion spending plan. Included in the plan are dollars to keep UI rates stable, the Be Pro Be Proud program operating fully with the local match and numerous projects within SCDOT. While this is version 1 the Senate has already begun debating the proposal. A final version of the budget will not be done until June.
S147 Liability reform
A House judiciary sub passed covid liability reform forward to the full committee. The bill still has several hurdles to go thru as the committee chairman still has reservations. The Speakers office and the leadership in the House are supportive of the bill. We are working with a number of business groups that are supportive of the language and will be signing on to letters of support with both the State Chamber and the South Carolina Manufactures. The bill is expected to be in full committee the week of April 6th.
H3144 SC WINS
The committee gave a favorable report on H.3144, a bill establishing the South Carolina Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship (SC WINS) to cover the full cost of a technical college education that equips a student for a career in sector experiencing a high demand for qualified employees. The legislation makes provisions allowing a student who is attending a two-year public technical college and is majoring in an identified critical workforce area program and who is receiving a Lottery Tuition Assistance Program Scholarship (LTAP) for the current school year, to receive an additional South Carolina Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship (SC WINS). The SC WINS scholarship is equal to the cost of attendance, after applying all other scholarships or grants, not to exceed $2,500 each school year for no more than three school years of instruction, including the student’s freshman year. This program will help us get more folks in to our pipeline as they will have access to dollars they did not previously have.
As of March 25th SCDHEC, has vaccinated 1,111,013 first doses and 593,871 second doses. This is roughly 27.1% of the population with dose one and 14.5% completely vaccinated. The Governor has lifted mask restrictions in all Government buildings, and we are seeing local mask ordinances going away on a city-by-city bases. 1C is scheduled to open on April 1 with everyone able to get vaccinated by May 1. This captures a lot of South Carolinians and everyone in the ready-mix sector.